THIS is what we’ve all been pining for. An NBA Finals that is virtually ours to speak of, to savor up until the last basket is buried.
Shout it from the housetops, please?
This is as if the circus was coming to town, especially ordered to spread joy to fans, familiar with the performers they almost treat as resident actors, as akin to kin.
This is a show featuring the resurrected Los Angeles Lakers versus the resurgent Miami Heat—two teams teeming with promises of sentimentality and territorial affinity.
This is theatre that is neither here nor there, from the lead actors to cameo players all collectively called best actors, as strict partiality takes the back seat this time.
Look, the Lakers thrills Filipinos like no other team on the world basketball stage. Aren’t the Lakers from Los Angeles, California, the place where almost half of Pinoys living in America are based?
Go to any mall or park there and “kumusta, pare” greetings are a dime a dozen, all practically clad in purple this time of the year.
From Jerry West to Magic Johnson to the late Kobe Bryant—all were adored like icons by Filipinos in the West for giving the Lakers 16 NBA crowns, second only to the 17 of the Boston Celtics.
Then came the title drought lasting 10 years now—the longest in Lakers franchise history.
And who might yet put an end to that if not LeBron James, who, like the Pinoy migrant, essayed the immigrant odyssey by leaving the East for the West in search of new nectar?
Winning three NBA rings with two teams on the Atlantic side, James sailed to the Pacific coast in search of a fourth, eventually landing on Laker land—thanks to Magic Johnson.
And, as if by destiny’s design, standing in James’ way now is Miami, the team he had given two crowns in 2012 and 2013.
And with the seven-game championship series unveiling on Thursday (PH time), will we be torn between two lovers—Miami having Erik Spoelstra as coach?
Spo (Spoelstra) is as Filipino as us, his mother hailing from San Pablo City, Laguna. He was the champion coach himself when James won his first two NBA rings with the Heat.
A family affair in the offing? Umm.